Screener cops back in action

Feds file charges after reeling in 'Big Fish' pirate

The U.S. attorney has filed charges against a Sherman Oaks man alleged to have sold illegal copies of “Big Fish” made from an Academy screener traced to actress Hanna Hertelendy.

But the defendant, William Philputt, said he bought the pirated copy of “Big Fish” in Chinatown, has never met Hertelendy and has sold only a few illegal copies of movies online.

“I’m not a criminal. I just did something stupid,” said Philputt, 31, who has held various jobs in the music and movie industry, when reached at home. “They’re wildly overreacting.”

FBI agents who executed a search warrant on Philputt’s apartment found illegal copies of pics including “Big Fish,” “Kill Bill Vol. 1,” “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” and the “Star Wars” trilogy, as well as HBO series “Sex and the City.” Philputt admitted to owning them all but said he made most himself for personal use and was only selling “Big Fish” online because the friend he bought it for didn’t want it.

He also admitted to owning an illegal “unlooper” to pirate a DirecTV signal but said he did not use it to make illegal copies for resale.

Philputt specifically denied FBI charges that he was selling pirated copies of “Sex and the City” recorded from DirecTV, as well as the allegation that he has made more than $2,500 selling pirated works in the past 180 days.

If convicted, he could face a maximum of five years in prison for both the copyright violation and DirecTV piracy, as well as $500,000 in fines.

Hertelendy, 84, could not be reached for comment.

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